I finally got my first (and last, I hope) tablesaw


Hi all:
I've spent a long time looking for a deal on a tablesaw. Yesterday, I went to a local school district auction that advertized a "Delta tablesaw" available. I've gone to a number of these before. Typically I spend 3-4 hours waiting for the saw to come up, only to watch the price skyrocket into the $500 - $700 range. But, my alternative activity was to finish helping my new in-laws move, so I went to the auction.
What I found when I got there was a Powermatic 66. I got there early enough that I had time to really check it out. Table flatness was better than 0.005. Both extensions were misaligned by about 0.020, though this could be fixed. Only light surface rust on the table. Everything was there except for the blade guard. Lift and tilt mechanisms operated smoothly, though there was plenty of sawdust caked on everything so it took some effort. The fence looked pretty flimsy, so I assumed I would have to replace it.
The bad news: the saw was in the middle of a two acre parking lot of surplus items ranging from lawn mowers to food prep equipment. I knew this would take all day.
After 5 hours, it was time. There were about 240 people there. It seemed like about 40 were interested in the saw, but only one other guy bid. I ended up getting it for $175.
Since I've primarily been looking at Delta Unisaws, I don't know much about the Powermatic. How does it stack up against the Unisaw? I noticed it's left-tilt, which I think I would like better. It has a 3-phase motor on it (2HP), but unlike the Delta, it appears to use a standard C-face mount. Is this correct? If so, finding a replacement sould be easier. Or, I have a surplus VFD that I could hook it to (assuming the motor works), which would give me soft start and variable speed. Has anybody used a VFD on a tablesaw? I plan to replace the fence. Any recommendations? How do I attach an extension table?
The first order of business is cleaning this thing up, but I can't wait to put it to use.
Regards, John.
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the_tool_man said:

Congratulations on your purchase! Sounds like a bargain to me, even though you gave no indication of it's age. We never have anything good around here.. unless you want a well worn (out) cherry picker.
If the motor runs OK, and the mechanicals are all present and intact, it sounds like a good fence and tune-up would put things in order.
One thing I would like to point out, while you are cleaning out the saw and inspecting it, is not to use compressed air directly aimed at the arbor bearings. While these are both sealed bearings, the intense pressure from an air hose can damage the seals and/or force debris past the seal into the bearings. JMHO.
Oh, yeah...
YOU SUCK. ;-)
Greg G.
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Be warned. You might get hate-mail from your post. Don't take things like "I hate you" too personally.
Of course, all good deals depend on the condition of the purchase but many who lurk here consider the PM66 to be a standard against which most other mid-range cabinet saws are judged. Powermatic in general has enjoyed a very good reputation for quality and durability for decades. That is why schools frequently have these and older Unisaws in their shops - they hold up to frequent use and abuse. Powermatic, like many others, has fallen into the merger, outsourcing and imported components routine but they still provide good stuff. You were not specific about the fence problem but Biesmeier and other good clones are available.
If your PM-66 is older and in good condition - congratualtions! It might be a machine well worth some investment. New machines sell for $2,000 and up depending on accessories. Ebay prices run in the $150 - $1,000 range for older machines.
If cleanup gets to be burdensome, there are several Wreck lurkers who will haul it away for you.
RonB
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RonB said:

Ron, Hate Mail? Really? Just so the OP understands, suckage is a traditional expression of envy - and generally means "Wish I had gotten that deal, you lucky bas#$%d." It is not intended to offend. FWIW,
Greg G.
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Uhhhh....Yeah. What he said!
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[...]

Because a 3-phase motor is vastly superior to the crap that's built to deal with save-in-the-wrong-place electrical installations give it a try. After all a 3-phase motor has no wear parts apart from the bearings!
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
  Click to see the full signature.
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I do not have a font big enough to tell you how much you suck. The biggest gloat of all is one where you don't have to say "Is this a good buy" or "does this qualify as a gloat".
You could spend a $1000 fixing up your buy and still have a gloat. I think you need to go out a buy an expensive digital camera to take pictures for us to see when you are finished.
Bob
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Snip
I ended up getting it for $175.

This explains the weather in my area yesterday! You suck!! Greg
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Hi all:
Yeah. I know. I suck. :)
I have a few more questions:
The serial number is 966525. I looked on owwm.com, but the serial number registry didn't have a listing for this number. It's painted a bright green color with a red nameplate. How can I find out the year of manufacture?
I downloaded a manual from the Powermatic website, but there appear to be some differences between the information in the manual and my saw. For one thing, my saw uses three V-belts, whereas the manual refers to only two. Is there someplace where I can download a manual of the appropriate vintage?
Since the saw came with no guard, I'd like to put some sort of riving knife arrangement on it (raises, lowers and tilts with the blade). Has anybody done this? There are plenty of discussions here comparing riving knives with splitters, but they are mostly theoretical. I'd like to know if anyone has actually installed one and can speak from experience.
I'd still like to know if anyone has used a VFD, too.
Regards, John.
Thanks in advance, John.
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is more than powerfull enough. A 56c is a straight bolt on replacement with one exception. The 3ph 3 belt drive motor had a 3/4" spindle. The replacement motors available have a 5/8" spindle. I replaced the old 3 belt with the new 3vx two belt by putting on the current motor and arbor pullies and belts - cost about $90 a few years back.
IF you do a motor swap check the arbor bearings. They're cheap to replace and easy enough to do if you have access to a small press.
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Forgot to add, running my 3hp 1ph on 220 and it's drawing 9.9a
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mike wrote:

Two need to be matched just as do three...they are supplied as matched sets routinely.
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Hi Mike:
I called Powermatic. They said it was made in 1996. They also are sending me a correct manual. Mine came with two round rails. The fence has two locking handles, and was very difficult to move. Not sure if I will try to make it work or replace it with another fence. In my case, I already have the VFD, so I'll probably start with that just to test the motor out. This depends on whether I can find a more powerful motor cheaply enough. I plan to replace the arbor bearings as soon as I can get it apart.
Regards, John.
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The round rail fence has one advantage - or my ageing version did - it locks both front and back. The front rail also has teeth for a micro adjuster but that was missing on mine. The fence has a problem in that it seemd to attract sawdust up into the cam and it wouldn't lock / unlock cleanly until I stripped it. My rails where rusting and the chrome bubbled enough that the fence wouldn't move easily for that reason either. Replaced it with a Vega 40 pro which is ok.The price was right but amazon took an age to deliver. Rails are strong enough to mount a router side table without extra support too. I've added a seperate rear lock for when ripping larger stuff on my own..
Good luck with it, once its up and running its a great saw and I enjoyed rebuilding it as much as using it. Having a 'pre dinged' top means I'm not obsessing about marking the top and spend more time cutting stuff and besides, it adds character.
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the_tool_man wrote:

I have a much older (ca '80 or so) w/ the round rail fence and the "vernier" knob arrangement. It works quite well if adjusted properly. The only beef I have at all w/ it is that for some reason PM chose to make the fence itself slightly tapered in thickness towards the top (both sides) so that it isn't perfectly perpendicular to the table. This is of virtually no consequence until one wants to hold a panel verically or bolt a fixture to the face of the fence--then one has to fiddle around to get it square to the fence.
Needless, to say, if it had been a real sore point w/me, I would have fixed it _sometime_ in the last 20 years or so... :)
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I spent some time examining the inner workings. It will be tight, but it may be possible to mount a riving knife so that it moves up and down with the arbor. More on this later. There sure is a lot of cast iron in there!
Regards, John.
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